Selling a home in today's market can be tough and that is an understatement for homeowners who bought in 2005-2007 in the Charleston SC real estate market. I had to have a heart to hear with myself and take my own advice I would give to any other seller. The 2 biggest hurdles that I have to help sellers jump is price and condition.
Appraised value and market value are 2 very different things. In buyer's markets, value and price do not always meet in middle. What you paid for a property or what you need to get out of it does not determine price either. I admit I had this discussion with myself as I argued about what price to list my home. After all, we had put over $25,000 in upgrades in this home and we should get our money back out, right? ...hardwood floors, ceramic tile, granite countertops, flagstone patio, landscaping, blinds, etc. I'd love to just break even at least but the reality of the situation is that the builder had dropped prices, offering the same upgrades; there was a foreclosure listed at a significant discount around the corner AND there had not been a successful re-sale in my subsection in over 1.5 years. In today's market based on what has sold and what is on the market, I struggled on the price because what kind of realtor would I be if I put the sign in the yard and it stays up for months and months on my own house?! Well, we bit the bullet and decided on a painful price slightly less than what we paid for the home and much less than the $25,000 we dumped into it.
Now the next hurdle, addressing the condition. I like to think we had a nice home, very trendy with lots of upgrades. Who wouldn't want to buy it?! I had my stager, Melissa Marro come in from the First Impression team for a staging consultation. Per her recommendations, we did a lot of painting and packing to get ready. Then the showcasing began with the finishing touches by the stager to make sure furniture placement was right and add artwork and some missing pieces like a bed in the 3rd bedroom and patio furniture outside.
Then comes the marketing. I took photos of every room including the exterior, yard, and screen porch and patio, making sure to find the best lighting and taking photos from different angles. We even light a fire in the fire pit on the patio for photos so buyers could visualize using this additional space. I also took photos of the neighborhood amenities and streetscape. I made sure to upload the survey of the property, the Covenants and Restrictions, a copy of the floorplan, and created a flattering virtual tour to include photos of the house, yard, streetscape and amenities. The home book had the Seller's Disclosure, along with the survey, Covenants and Restrictions, floorplan, name of utility companies and average bill, and HOA mgmt information. Any buyer considering this home had just about any piece of information they could possibly want.
Within the 1st week, an agent that had not shown the home called me to say he was pretty sure he was going to be bringing me an offer but he just wanted to stop by to look at the house for himself. Turns out the buyers weren't coming to town for 2 weeks and they hadn't seen any other houses they liked. They didn't want to lose this house. They wanted their agent to look at the house to make sure it looked as good in person as it did in photos. On day 7 of listing the home, we had a contract from a buyer that had never stepped foot into the house. We ratified the contract 3 days later at 99.5% of list price and we closed 3 weeks later.
All that to say, buyers are out there looking for their perfect house. What are you doing to make your listing their dream home? I won't tell a seller to do anything I wouldn't do. That means, I'll give honest info about pricing your home even if it hurts. I'll make staging recommendations that are necessary so that we can have photos that show off your home in the best light. We'll do everything possible to market your home but that means we'll need your help in following through with recommendations and obtaining property info like survey, Covenants & Restrictions, etc. There is an equation to get a property sold but it can require some elbow grease and work to get the property ready as well as making a tough decision on pricing. But in the end in my case, based on past sales, I saved over $25,000 in carrying costs (mortgage, utilities, landscaping, etc) by pricing it right and getting the house in showcase condition and selling it in 10 days versus 18 months.
(Right PRICE + Best CONDITION including STAGING + cutting edge MARKETING exposure = SOLD!)
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Contact Michele Reneau, Top Real Estate Agent, North Charleston, SC Relocation Expert, CRS, GRI, ABR. 843-814-6680. Michele Reneau is a Certified Staging Professional Elite Instructor and teaches agents how to use staging to maximize their real estate business and Help Sellers Protect their Equity using Home Staging while earning the CSP Elite designation. She is also available for speaking engagements in on: How to use social networking to improve your real estate business, Why Home Staging is a Must in Today's Market, How to calculate market statistics and use them to understand and explain to sellers where the market is going using data, and discussing statistics with sellers to help them price their property to sell. Michele is a Certified Residential Specialist with a top real estate team in Charleston, SC. Featured on HGTV's House Hunters and Real Estate Executive Magazine. RESA 2009 Staging Realtor of the Year Nominee. The Charleston Relocation Experts Team specializes in military relocation, first time homebuyers and creating marketing exposure to sell your home in the Charleston SC Real Estate market. Michele can also be contacted by email at michele@CharlestonRelocationExperts.com.